By all accounts, the first day of legalization went well and that Massachusetts became the first state on the East Coast where adults can legally purchase recreational cannabis – in itself an historic event.
Reports noted that buyers waited in line and were undaunted by a cold rain. After all, Massachusetts regularly endures snowstorms that would paralyze most states.
Indeed, people celebrated the fact that after legalizing cannabis over two years ago, the states first two fully licensed weed shops opened on Nov. 20, 2018, just in time for Thanksgiving.
Thankfully there were no immediate reports of shortages, which has happened in many other states, and to an extreme degree in Canada.
“It’s only two stores but it represents, I think, a formidable accomplishment,” said Steven Hoffman, chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission, noting the panel started meeting only 14 months ago.
The two stores that opened are in Leicester and Northampton. Unfortunately there are no shops as yet in the greater Boston area, where more than half the state’s population resides.
Massachusetts’ top marijuana regulator said the crowds appeared orderly and praised operators for doing a thorough job of preparing for the first sales, reported the Associated Press.
Legalization advocates have rightly been frustrated at the slow pace of regulation and licensing by the state, while others have faulted cities and towns for throwing up roadblocks to marijuana businesses, or in some cases banning them altogether.
One young man, student at University of Massachusetts-Amherst who was waiting in line to legal recreational weed, put the situation into perspective.
“There are a lot of people throughout our history who have done prison time for such minor offenses — like having weed paraphernalia, or having small amounts on them — and the fact that I can walk out of the store right now with this and not be afraid of anything that can happen to me, it’s pretty great,” he told The Boston Globe.